Let’s take a look back at the games from the ACC-Big Ten Challenge (only games I analyzed for RTC):
Minnesota at Florida State
Pre-Game Pick: FSU
Pre-Game Analysis: Pay close attention to FSU’s three-point shooting and offensive rebounding in this one. Because Minnesota is not a great shooting team, they are going to have to figure out a way to deal with the Seminoles’ size on the offensive glass. Thus far, the Gophers are grabbing 47.3% of their missed shots on the offensive end, which is good for fourth in the nation. The winner of this game will be the team that owns the offensive glass.
Post-Game Review: Both teams grabbed a ton of offensive boards. FSU had a OR% of 48.4%. Typically that would be enough to beat most teams but Minnesota grabbed 53.3% of their offensive rebounding opportunities. Combine that with FSU being held to 31% from three and Minnesota got a good road win. The pre-game analysis was accurate but I out guessed myself on the pick.
North Carolina State at Michigan
Pre-Game Pick: Michigan
Pre-Game Analysis: Three-point shooting will be a key factor in this match-up with both teams hovering right around the 40% mark. While offensive firepower seems to be the key in this game, defense will ultimately determine the winner. NC State is the best offense UM has faced thus far, though, but the question remains if the Wolfpack can hold off the plethora of Wolverines who can score. If they don’t improve that field goal defense against Michigan, they will get crushed again.
Post-Game Review: Both teams ended up shooting the lights out in this game. Michigan held a district advantage from downtown but they also made a lot more free throws than NCST. I missed the mark a bit on this one, as I expected UM to deliver a better defensive performance. However, they prevented NC State from hitting outside shots and did not put the Wolfpack on the line. So it wasn’t a total miss. Plus three-point shooting was a major factor and I picked the winner.
North Carolina at Indiana
Pre-Game Pick: Indiana
Pre-Game Analysis: Coming off a disappointing trip to Maui, North Carolina needs to find its offense. It does not get any easier against an Indiana team that is holding opponents to under 0.9 points per possession. More than that, the Hoosiers are playing really smart defense. They are not committing dumb fouls to give up foul shots and are not allowing teams to grab their misses. Roy Williams needs to find his offensive threats or this game in Bloomington could get away from the Heels.
Post-Game Review: Indiana’s defense was rock solid again. The Heels had an eFG of 38.4% and were held to .75 O-PPP. UNC had 4 players in double digits but their shooting was poor. This one got away from the Heels early and they couldn’t recover. Looks like a I called out the right things to watch and made the right pick on this one.
Michigan State at Miami
Pre-Game Pick: Miami
Pre-Game Analysis: Both of these teams are dominated by their guard play. If you like guards, this is your game. Interestingly, neither team relies heavily on three-point shooting. With most of their points coming from inside the arc, the team whose guards shoot better from two will most likely win this game. Finally, free throws should play a big part in this game with so much of the action taking place inside the arc. Michigan State has had trouble getting to the line and Miami is not putting teams there, which is not a good combination for the Spartans.
Post-Game Review: Guards definitely dominated this game. The Hurricane’s backcourt outscored the Spartan’s backcourt 53-50. Interestingly, both teams shot well from three-point land with Miami out dueling MSU by slim margin. And free throws were a huge factor in the game. The Canes were 16-18, while MSU was only 5-11. Looks like I made the right pick and nailed down the right things to watch on this one (well…I didn’t count on those 3’s).
Ohio State at Duke
Pre-Game Pick: Duke
Pre-Game Analysis: Nerves wouldn’t seem to be an issue, but pay close attention to how they play down the stretch. Duke’s players have already been in tough situations this year and have responded well. If OSU is going to win this game, they’ll need to do it on the defensive end. The Buckeyes rank 164th in three-point defense and 216th in allowing teams to get to the line. If they can’t improve those stats in this game, they won’t beat Duke in this rematch.
Post-Game Review: OSU was definitely not intimidated by the crowd at Cameron and led most of this game. However, as discussed, Duke has been tested this year and they responded once again down the stretch. The Buckeyes didn’t have a poor defensive performance, but they didn’t do enough to win. Duke had too many weapons, even though Seth Curry did nothing. Duke got to the line 27 times and Aaron Craft fouled out. The Buckeyes are having a problem with fouls and it hurt them in this game. One point I missed in the pre-game was how OSU would handle Mason Plumlee without Jared Sullinger. They couldn’t. Plumlee went for 21 and 17. Good game, good pick, good analysis with the exception of missing the Plumlee match-up problem.